On October 20, 2019, Raymond Laverne Judkins regained his memory and his freedom from his toughest opponent ever, Alzheimer’s. His battle has ended and he remains a champion. His greatest fans throughout this battle and his entire life were his wife Judy Judkins, his brothers Gene Judkins, David Judkins and Wayne Judkins, children Mike and Terie Judkins, Tim and Edie Ingram, Brett and Becky Crowe, his grandchildren Matt Judkins, Todd and Brianna Judkins, Brittany Crowe and Bailey Crowe and great grandchildren Liadan and Damien Judkins.

Dad lives on not only in our memories but also in the memories of all of the countless lives he touched. He was a coach above all else and the accomplishment that brought him the most pride was starting the wrestling program at NEO A&M College and being inducted into the NEO Athletic Hall of Fame.

However, his coaching skills reached far beyond the world of athletics. Dad coached by example, he was a coach of character and lived his life with integrity; he was a coach of fatherhood who demonstrated unconditional love to his own children and many others whom he took in as his own. He was a coach of joy, constantly living life with laughter and infusing fun into everything he did. He was a coach of marriage and demonstrated an unfailing love for our mother that his children, grandchildren and anyone else who was around him witnessed on a daily basis. Though his memory left him, his love for his red headed bride was a constant. Dad lives on through the lessons that he taught us all, his singing, his laughter, his love of life and his desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

Raymond Laverne Judkins was born in Oklahoma City on June 8, 1937 to Herbert and Rebecca Judkins. He is a graduate of Putnam City High School Class of 1955. Ray attended NEO A&M College and earned his Bachelor’s from Northeastern State in Tahlequah where he was a member of the 1959 National Championship Football Team. He continued his education at Pittsburg State University where he earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership and his Specialist in Administration.

He met Judith Ann Archer, the love of his life, on a blind date while attending school at Tahlequah and they were married in November of 1958. They began their life teaching and coaching on a Navajo Reservation in Arizona where their first child Mike was born and later moved to Sargent High School outside of the small farming community of Monte Vista, Colorado. While in Monte Vista, they had their daughter Edie. Their next stop was McCook Nebraska where Dad worked as a football coach at McCook Jr. College. With each move came another addition to their family and McCook was no exception. McCook was where their daughter Becky joined the family.

Dad’s dream to return to NEO and coach became a reality in 1969 when McCook played the NEO Norseman. McCook had been ahead, but NEO came in at the last minute for the win. Chuck Bowman was NEO’s head coach at the time and he took advantage of the opportunity, inviting Dad to join the Golden Norseman coaching staff. Dad coached at NEO until he realized he was missing out on his children’s lives, so he became an assistant principal at Miami High School. He returned to NEO for a short time, then was hired as the principal at Picher High School and later returned to Miami Public Schools where he retired as their high school principal. As typical for Dad, he wasn’t happy not being busy so he took a position in Columbus, Kansas as a principal for Columbus Public Schools and worked in that school system until his retirement.

We are holding a celebration of life for Dad on Friday, October 25 in the Bruce Carter Student Union Calcagno Ballroom. A reception will begin at 2:00 pm followed by a brief memorial program at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wrestling Program at NEO A&M College Foundation, 200 I Street NE or to the Animal Welfare and Adoption Agency at their PayPal account miamiadoptadog@gmail.com.